Friday, September 26, 2014

Book Review: The Winter King

The Winter King (Weathermages of Mystral, #1)The Winter King by C.L. Wilson
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Publication Date: July 2014
Source: library

Wynter Atrialan, the Winter King, once lived in peace with his southern, Summerlander neighbors, but when the prince of Summerlea steals Wynter’s bride and murders his young brother, Wynter calls upon a dangerous Wintercraig magic called the Ice Heart and marches against Summerlea.

After three bitter years of battle, a victorious Wynter arrives at Summerlea’s royal palace to issue his terms of surrender. The prince of Summerlea stole Wynter’s bride and slew Wynter’s Heir. He wants the loss replaced. The Ice Heart is consuming him. Wynter hopes holding his own child in his arms will rekindle the warmth in his heart before he becomes the monster of Wintercraig legend, the Ice King.

The Summer King has three very precious daughters whom he loves dearly. Wynter will take one of them to wife. She will have one year to provide him with an Heir. If she fails, he will send her to face the mercy of the mountains and claim another princess for his wife. And so it will continue until Wynter has his Heir or the Summer King is out of daughters.

The plan is perfect—except for one small detail. The Summer King has a fourth daughter. One of whom he is not so fond. And she is a fiercely passionate creature, with a temper as volatile as the forces of her weathergift, the power of storms.

I'm sure I'm not the only fan of this author who will say it, but this was disappointing. I thought her Tairen Soul series was fantastic, and as I read this I kept questioning my judgement on that one. Was I just in a really good mood when I read it? Or is this one just not anywhere near the standards of that series? I hope it's the latter, and if I re-read Tairen Soul someday (which I probably will), I will enjoy them as much.

The characters in The Winter King were just not likable. The romance was just not there. The two main characters constantly mistrusted each other, to the point where I couldn't even handle it anymore. All the way to the very end there was mistrust, until the moment they decided they were, in fact, so desperately in love that they loved each other more than anything in the world.

What there was, if not love (or blossoming love) was a whole heckuva lot of lust. And sex. Which is why I generally don't read romances. And the descriptions of the sex were so out there, and in some cases impossible, that it took me out of the story. I mean, to give you an idea, I present (delicate readers please look away):

"She curled her fingers around him. The flesh that had only moments ago been soft and malleable was now a thick, rapidly hardening shaft. Her fingers spanned little more than halfway around the base."

What? How is that even possible? This wasn't the only time the sex scenes were just physically not possible. But even that could have been forgiven. I often skim over sex scenes in books because they're just not my thing. It was just the lack of actual romance and the mistrust between the main characters made it hard for me to like them.

And then there was the plot, which wasn't horrible, but wasn't great either. It was too long, and there was just nothing to redeem the lack of likable characters, which previously had been C.L. Wilson's strong point. I think she is a talented writer, and I'm really disappointed that I didn't like this more.

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